The Fetal, Infant, & Toddler Neuroimaging Group (FIT’NG) was founded in the Fall of 2018 by Drs. Marisa Spann (CUIMC), Dustin Scheinost (Yale), Alice Graham (OHSU), and Lilla Zöllei (MGH/HMS). It is composed of interdisciplinary scientists and clinicians who have an interest in elucidating neurodevelopmental processes, the role of the preconceptional, prenatal and postnatal influences on the developing brain, and linkages between early neural phenotypes and subsequent behaviors and health outcomes.
The network provides a forum for that supports this goal through bringing together scientists and clinicians across multiple disciplines (e.g. neuroscience, computer science, biomedical engineering, psychology, psychiatry, and public health), career stages, and geographic regions to encourage collaboration and innovation. We have three core focus areas: methodological development, education/training advancement, and data sharing and integration. A primary objective spanning these areas is to encourage the establishment and dissemination of guidelines to support best practices for methods used to study the developing brain, including EEG, fNIRS, MRI, MEG, OCT, histology, DOT, ultrasound, and others. These methods are rapidly evolving and present unique challenges when applied to the study of fetal, infant and toddler brains.
Best Practice Guidelines within the Field
- Encourage critical thought with regard to current practices for neuroimaging methods with young children (e.g. study design, data collection, processing and analyses)
- Dialogue and leverage expertise across disciplines to better understand methodological challenges and identify innovative solutions.
Community Exchange and Collaboration:
- Share data processing and analyses tools and establish collaborations among groups to integrate advances in analytic tools and software that will ultimately help to move the field forward.
- Share data to establish opportunities for large datasets to enhance our ability to demonstrate definitive findings within the field.
- Share knowledge based on practical, hands-on experience and more formal expertise.
Develop and provide educational opportunities within and across institutions at a range of training levels.
Encourage young researchers to enter the field and provide networking opportunities to facilitate career advancement.
Advancing understanding of early brain development represents an imperative for basic science and for improving capacity to support lifelong health and prevention neuropsychiatric disorders. As there are unique challenges associated with studying early brain development, we believe the FIT’NG network provides an optimal setting for interdisciplinary efforts to solidify the field and methods garnering a sound position in within the larger scientific and medical community.
We have been organizing workshops since 2019. Our society has an annual conference and hosts several online workshops.